They say comparison is the "thief" of joy. With that said, I was tired of being robbed... so I learned to stop comparing myself to others and became content with what I have.
When I was younger, it was comparing myself to others based on how I looked. I mean - being an acne covered, braces-wearing, tan, Filipino girl in a small town full of beautiful blonde-haired and blue-eyed people... how could you not?? With time, I learned to stop comparing myself to others based on looks and accepted the way God created me. That's when I truly began seeing myself in God's eyes and realizing how beautiful I am in His sight. (Also shout out to 1 Samuel 16:7 for that phase of my life).
But now, that I'm older, it's different. I see former classmates in medical school/getting interviews and although I am truly excited and rooting for them, I can't help but be a bit sad and frustrated for myself. I find myself asking, "God... why can't that be me?" or "God that should be me right now, why am I not there yet?" I see friends and former classmates getting into relationships/engaged/married, having kids, buying houses, or succeeding in their career and can't help but wonder if I am behind compared to everyone else. A part of me is just so antsy to get to that point of my life where I can say "Here I am, I made it." I just get amused thinking about it because being in your 20's is wild. So many people are in such different phases of their lives, and honestly it's okay... there is no "right" or "wrong" place to be.
Social media doesn't help either, especially with everyone's picture perfect Instagram photos, but I can't completely blame social media because after all - I do use it. Instead of putting the blame on anyone or anything, I made a conscious effort to stop comparing myself to others.
1. I remind myself that God's timing is perfect.
Just because I don't have all those things now, doesn't mean I won't have those things in the future. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven". God's plan for me is far more than what I can imagine, so who am I to rush Him in His timing for my life? I tell myself, maybe I don't have those things right now because I am not ready, and I am learning to be okay with that. God is preparing me for the next season of my life and He is still working on me.
2. I remind myself that everyone has their own path in life.
Each one of us is different, so obviously God has unique plans for each of us individually. Focus on your own path, run your own race, and things will fall into place. My path to medical school, having a family or a successful career does not and will not look like others' paths. I have learned to accept that. I know I've said it on this blog a million times, but Jeremiah 29:11 is still true today. "For the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future." His plans for your life may be different than other people's lives, and that's okay because trust in knowing that His plans for you are great.
3. Cheer those ahead of you as you become inspired, not jealous.
As much as social media can be a debby downer at times, I love its power to connect us. I love seeing people I know achieving amazing things in life and celebrating the milestones with them (whether close or from afar). Whether I am close with them or not, it truly makes my heart happy to see people succeed. Although I was a theatre kid in high school, deep down I know I am a cheerleader because I am always cheering for my family, friends and old classmates/acquaintances. It's always comforting knowing that God is not a respecter of persons meaning that what He can do for others, He can also do for you. As Acts 10:34 says, "Peter fairly exploded with his good news: 'It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites!" Your time will come, and while you're waiting, be grateful for what God is doing in others' lives, because He will do the same for you. We need to cheer each other on and encourage each other, not cultivate jealousy.
4. If you're going to compare yourself to anyone, compare yourself to the old you.
I don't know about you, but I am so grateful that God has done some work in me. True, I still have a long way to go, but I am so grateful that I am not the person I was before. I compare myself to how I used to be and honestly, I can say that I am proud of who I am becoming. You may not be where you want to be, but it is okay to look back and see how far you've come. It's okay to be proud of who you are and all that you have accomplished, because after all...you did that.
5. Learn to be content.
During this season of my life, this has played a huge role. I am learning to be content with where I am in my life and enjoying the present. I tend to look so far into the future and don't really take time to enjoy the present and be fully present in my life sometimes. I try to think of things that I am grateful for that day and dwell on it. Sometimes I get so caught up in life, that I don't stop to thank God for the blessings I have in my life and realize that I truly have so much to be grateful for. So whether it's the hot cup of coffee you drank this morning, or making it to work or class on time, whether it's something big or small...there is always something to be thankful for. With Thanksgiving coming up, I know people become more "thankful", but honestly we don't need a season or a day to realize that there is a lot to be thankful for, ya know?
With that being said, I truly hope that you learn to stop comparing yourself to others. It is easier said than done, but being aware of it is the first step to freeing yourself from the pattern of comparison. It's okay to take a break from social media if you feel that is what causes it, I mean I do that all the time. Just know that are you fearfully and wonderfully made by our God and that you are so loved.
The girl with upside down dimples